NWS Fellows Nick Castellano and Mark Grisez are joined by Sarah Willis of the Berlin Philharmonic to discuss MTT's Four Questions and how they apply to the career of an artist.
French Horn and Trumpet
Sarah Willis was born in Maryland, USA and holds dual citizenship, British and American. Her father was a foreign correspondent and her family lived in the USA, Tokyo and Moscow before moving to England when she was 13. She began playing the horn aged 14 at school and then attended the Royal College of Music Junior Department. She went on to study full time at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where her teachers included Anthony Halstead and Jeff Bryant. She later studied with Fergus McWilliam in Berlin, where she became 2nd Horn in the Berlin State Opera under Daniel Barenboim in 1991. During this time, Sarah played as a guest with many top orchestras such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic and performed worldwide as a soloist and in various chamber music ensembles.
In 2001 Sarah Willis joined the Berlin Philharmonic, becoming the first female member of the brass section. She has recorded various acclaimed CDs including works such as the Brahms Horn Trio and the Rosetti Double Horn Concertos as well as the much celebrated CDs Opera! and Four Corners! with the Berlin Philharmonic Horns. Sarah is involved in Zukunft@BerlinPhil Education projects and enjoys creating and presenting Berlin Philharmonic concerts for children. She also interviews conductors and soloists for the Berlin Philharmonic´s Digital Concert Hall, and in 2011 she presented live to 33 million viewers during the Final Concert of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.
Nick Castellano is a second-year Horn Fellow at the New World Symphony. A native of Southern California, he has performed with such ensembles as the Charlotte Symphony, American Youth Symphony and the Battle Creek Symphony. He previously held a position as third horn of the Dearborn Symphony.
A finalist in the International Horn Society’s Premiere Soloist competition, as well as the Jan and Beattie Wood Concerto Competition in Brevard, North Carolina, Mr. Castellano enjoys performing a variety of music in a number of different types of ensembles. He traveled and performed wind quintet music as a part of the Thy Chamber Music Festival in Denmark, and also enjoys performing contemporary classical music both as an individual in collaboration with composers and as a member of contemporary music ensembles.
Mr. Castellano’s favorite musical experiences have been both eclectic and rewarding. He was involved in a performance of Britten’s The Prodigal Son with James Conlon as a part of the Britten 100/LA celebration, and has also performed on stage with such artists as Kristin Chenoweth and Kansas. He has had the pleasure of performing under the batons of JoAnn Falleta, Gerard Schwartz and Carl St. Clair, among others.
Mr. Castellano holds a master’s degree in horn performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in horn performance from the University of Southern California. He has had the privilege to study with a number of instructors, including Adam Unsworth and Dr. Kristy Morrell. Mr. Castellano comes from a family of two loving parents who couldn’t wait to hear him play, and a supportive little brother who couldn’t wait to hear him stop.